In Review: Aliens: Resistance #4

An enjoyable, quick read with visuals that are sharp.

The covers: Two different covers that show the opponents from very different perspectives. The Regular cover by Roberto de la Torre has Amanda crouched down holding her rifle to the upper left. Zula stands next to her friend, her gun pointed to the upper right. Emerging from a mist are several xenomorphs. A solid atmospheric cover that sets the tone for what’s to be found within. The Variant cover by Tristan Jones has a xenomorph getting nuked a la Sarah Conner from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The details on this are tremendous as the creature begins to disintegrate. The coloring is a combination of yellow and orange to create the fiery death for this beast. Oustanding! Overall grades: Regular A and Variant A+ 

The story: Remember that group of unknowing survivors from the ship crash that were making their way through the woods who were ambushed by aliens? Writer Brian Wood does and shows them laying in the forest, their stomachs blasted out from the inside, blood everywhere. Some of the corpses have had their mouths and eyes eaten out. One survivor continues to run, though his stomach has swelled to gigantic proportions. Unable to stand the pain, he falls to the ground. His eyes roll back as three chestbursters explode from his belly. Two of the tiny monstrosities attack the smallest. It destroyed, the pair race off into the woods, leaving their host to expire. As he dies an insect is drawn to his open mouth. The text states, “…this will end badly.” This man’s fate sealed, the story moves to Amanda and Zula running through the woods to find the young survivor that raced past them. His name is Alec Brand and he wants to be protected. The women explain what was done to him and all the unwitting passengers and they have a plan that involves their ship, the Celestial, commanded by the AI Davis. Something is happening on the ship that forces Davis to up his plans, which forces the women to make a harsh choice. This installment is much faster than previous issues, with more Alien action — at last! — though the creatures don’t get to do much. The ending is impressive, with it being a cliffhanger that truly has the leads at death’s door. I’m looking forward to seeing how, and if, Wood can get the heroines out of this situation. Overall grade: A-

The art: The first four pages of the book have artist Robert Carey getting to do the most graphic segment of the story so far. Beginning with an idyllic image of the forest, Carey pulls in to show the ground littered with bodies. Pulling in closer, the damage done to the bodies from the chesterbursters is shown on several people before ending the page on a close-up of an individual whose chest is blown open, as well as having the mouth and eyes mutilated. The pain the man on the run feels is palpable on the second page and when his eyes roll back, fans of the franchise know what’s about to occur. I was surprised by the number of creatures that pound out of him, but, looking back, given the size of his chest, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. I was also surprised by what happens to one of the creatures. The final image on Page 4 is a great sick visual, which is impressive given the horrors that have already been shown. I like Zula and Amanda on the hunt on 5 with them communicating silently. Alec’s appearance is a good shock and I like that he’a able to get a punch in on Amanda, but is quickly taken down. The Celestial’s appearance is eerie and I love the panel that reveals the failsafe, reminding the reader of the destruction in the skies. Page 12 contains no text, allowing Carey to tell the story through his visuals and it’s very exciting. The first panel on 13 is excellent, as is the fifth panel. The final stand on Pages 16 – 20 is very tense storytelling from Carey. No text is really necessary to communicate what’s occurring, but it is neat to read what’s there. I really like the look of worry on Amanda on 17. The final page is a full-paged splash of a cliffhanger, but if one looks at the last panel on 19 and what’s in the top quarter of 20, the solution is evident in the art. I love when the visuals clue the reader in, rather than having things explicitly told. Overall grade: A

The colors: Dan Jackson’s colors greatly increase the intensity of the book’s artwork. The beautiful green background of the forest allows the oranges of the unlikely passengers to pop out on the page. And it’s impossible to miss the use of crimson splattered throughout the first four pages to show the violence of what has and what is occurring. I like that the third panel on Page 2 has no colors for the background, which has the reader focus wholly on the character’s stress. The greens on 3 are great and the pale pinks are wonderfully disgusting. The colors in every panel are just cool: the various greens for foliage, the change in backgrounds for the second panel and the monitor’s screen, and the lighting effect that ends the page. Alec’s scream has got a yellow band around his dialogue balloon to add to the surprise of his appearance. The nighttime discussion is gorgeous in greens that make every spoken word threatening. The reds on 10 and 11 are hallmarks for the reader to realize that what they’re witnessing is trouble. The blasts and fires that follow are powerful in orange and yellow. The final three pages contain an even stronger combination of these colors, for obvious reasons. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Narration and transmissions (the same font), credits, yells, dialogue, and scene settings are brought to life by Nate Piekos of Blambot. The narration and transmissions from Davis are in the same italics, which is absolutely fine as they are often done in italics and neither one appears on the page at the same time, so there’s no confusion. The credits on Page 5 are really cool, looking like text one would see in a movie, which helps create the cinematic feel of this book. The scene settings are equally cool looking. The yells are in a larger font to have them blast off the page. Sadly, the book lacks sound effects, which does minimize the action scenes and the important closing scenes. It’s not Piekos’s fault, as it’s up to Woods to determine what and where sounds are placed. It would have made the book a more audible experience had Piekos been allowed to insert some of his excellent sounds. Overall grade: A- 

The final line: A character joins the heroines and something really big and bad occurs. The first four pages give me the Alien horrors I’ve been waiting for and the latter half of the book finally has an all-out assault by the creatures. An enjoyable, quick read with visuals that are sharp. Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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